Sadly, your dirty dishes aren't going to clean themselves. And not everyone has the luxury of owning a dishwasher. Dish drying racks are probably the least sexy thing you can have in the kitchen, but they're also one of the most functional and necessary. After all, you don't want to hand dry everything you cleaned (how clean is that towel anyway?), and you definitely don't want to put your wet dishes away (oh, you like mold and mildew?).

Dish racks promote optimal airflow to help dry dishes efficiently and quickly because you already did the hard work of cleaning them. Not all dish racks are the same, however, and the right one for you can depend on a few factors like how much space you have to spare, how many dishes you tend to clean at once and more.

From a double-decker dish rack to one that collapses into virtually nothing, here are the seven best dish-drying racks to shop right now.

      What to Look for in a Dish Rack

      Size Matters

      Counter space is precious, and a dish rack is very likely to always stay on your counter, forever rendering a portion of your counter occupied. You'll either opt for a small dish rack or a dish rack that can collapse and be stored away.

      You'll also want to take into consideration how many dishes you do at once. If you're just cleaning up after yourself, a small dish rack will suffice. But if you live with others, or you tend to host large dinner parties, you'll want a bigger dish rack — like a two-tier dish rack — to accommodate more dishes.

      Types of Drying Rack Types

      Traditional dish racks: Your run-of-the-mill dish rack will usually comprise a wire frame atop a platform on which water can pool off. The platform will either be completely level to allow water to evaporate naturally or slightly sloped to let water drain into the sink.

      Collapsible dish racks: As its name implies, these are dish racks that collapse onto themselves to store away after use. These are good for those with limited counter space or people who don't think a dish rack on full display is in line with their interior design aesthetics.

      Two-tier dish racks: If you can't build outward, build up. By utilizing vertical space, two-tier dish racks allow for more dishes to dry at once. These are good for homes that tend to go through a lot of dishes at once, but a common pain point of this style of dish racks is that water drips from the top layer onto the first layer, which means the bottom layer of dishes takes longer to dry.

      Over-the-counter dish racks: By creating a ventilated platform over your sink, you can let your dishes dry without having to take up counter space. You'll obviously be limiting how much sink space you have, but this style of dish racks is good for those with fewer dishes.

      Consider the Material

      Your dish rack is going to get very wet very often, so rust and/or discoloration can happen. Dish racks can be made of anything from plastic to stainless steel to metal, so make sure to get something that can resist rust. Also, if you take care of your dish rack, as in regular cleaning (because even your dish rack should be cleaned), you can stave off rust.

      Care and Maintenance

      As your dish rack's permanent home will probably be next to your sink, you should think of it as an extension of your counter. In an ideal world, you'd clean and dry your dish rack after every use, but once a week is a good rule of thumb. While in theory, it should remain clean throughout the week, you want to avoid water pooling, collecting bacteria or growing mildew. (Although a good dish rack should have good drainage to begin with.)

      You can do regular cleanings with dish soap and a sponge or scrubbing brush. But if you've got some build-up, you can also soak it in vinegar and some racks are even dishwasher safe.

      How We Tested

      collage of dish drying racks on a sink counter
      Gear Patrol Staff

      A good dish rack will make washing up a whole lot easier without making a mess, rusting or taking up too much counter space. Our testers have been using their dish racks for weeks or even years, so they know what they like and in some cases don't like. Whether seeing how high they can stack their bowls or making sure the water drains where it should, our testers know a thing or two about what makes a good dish rack. And there are a lot of quality dish racks out there, but these are the ones that'll last a long time and not look too bad in your kitchen, from Simplehuman to Oxo to Food52 and more.

      Oxo Good Grips Aluminum Dish Rack

      Best Overall Dish Rack

      Oxo Good Grips Aluminum Dish Rack

      • Good value for the sturdiness and capacity
      • Versatile design to fit needs
      • Aesthetically pleasing enough to leave out

      • A little bulky to store
      • Size: 17.9 by 14.9 by 6.6 inches
      • Material: Aluminum and plastic

        Oxo already makes the best coffee maker, one of our favorite coffee grinders and now our favorite dish rack. This versatile dish rack doesn't take up a lot of counter space while still allowing you to maximize storage by piling dishes, thanks to the sturdy aluminum frame.

        oxo aluminum dish rack
        Although compact, this Oxo dish rack is sturdy enough to pile on even the heaviest of dishes.
        Ryan Brower

        Our tester has had this dish rack for a year and has yet to see any sign of wear and tear. The adjustable drain and removable utensil cup allow you to use either side of your sink. And the drain board does its job well, so you won't have water pooling on your counter — plus, it's removable for easy cleanup. The dish rack also has a pretty sleek design that's not an eyesore, especially if you plan on leaving it out 24/7.

        Simplehuman Compact Steel Frame Dish Rack

        Best Splurge Dish Rack

        Simplehuman Compact Steel Frame Dish Rack

        • Sturdy enough to stack dishes
        • Swivel spout means you can place the dish rack however you'd like
        • Side cup racks are convenient and save space

        • Side glass holders allow water to drip onto the counter
        • Plastic covers for metal feet collect water
        • Size: 15 by 25.5 by 7.5 inches
        • Material: Stainless steel

          Simplehuman's compact dish rack is as clean as the dishes you put in it. Besides its overall great look, it has a fingerprint-proof coating, rust-proof materials and an anti-residue coating. There's ample space to fit dishes and a pot and pan, plus it has a built-in utensil holder. The whole thing is easy to assemble out of the box, and it makes it less of a hassle to clean the whole contraption. The drain spout can swivel so you can orient the dish rack in a way that makes sense for your counter space.

          simplehuman dish rack with dishes
          Simplehuman’s dish rack is compact, durable and built to last, making it well worth the relatively high price point.
          Joe Tornatzky

          Our tester has had this dish rack for three years and said that it's held up very well. He likes the "clean, simple and intuitive design" and has found that it's the perfect dish rack for a small- to medium-sized apartment.

          The Container Store Folding Bamboo Dish Rack

          Best Affordable Dish Rack

          The Container Store Folding Bamboo Dish Rack


          • Cheap
          • Folds away for storage

          • No utensil holder, but one is sold separately
          • Size: 17.75 by 12.25 by 10.25 inches
          • Material: Bamboo

            Bamboo dish racks are pretty pared down, and that also makes them fairly cheap. The Container Store makes its bamboo dish rack foldable, so it can be stored away when not in use, and the slats help with airflow for faster drying. The dish rack doesn't come with a utensil holder, but there is one sold separately for $8 that attaches to the side. There's also no water tray or drain spout, so we suggest adding a drying mat underneath to prevent puddles from forming on your counter.

            Yamazaki Tosca Dish Rack

            Best Designed Dish Rack

            Yamazaki Tosca Dish Rack


            • Attractive on the counter
            • Lightweight and transportable
            • Big enough to accommodate pots and pans

            • Have to manually dump out water drippings
            • Expensive while lacking any truly special features
            • Size: 13.19 by 18.5 by 7.87 inches
            • Material: Alloy steel

              Yamazaki's dish rack retains a lot of the minimalist characteristics that the Japanese houseware brand is known for. It's made of powder-coated steel that is lightweight and also resistant to rusting. The high walls of the dish rack keep everything safe and allow you to place larger items in there like pots and pans without worrying about the whole thing toppling over. And the simple, chic design helps it double as a piece of decor on your counters.

              Oxo Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack

              Best Dish Rack for Large Households

              Oxo Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack


              • Less than $50
              • Dedicated spots for plates, cups and utensils
              • Easy to clean with removable parts

              • Water tends to sit instead of drain fully
              • Only small side panels fold in
              • Size: 19.4 by 15.5 by 5.125 inches (3 inches narrower when closed)
              • Material: Stainless steel and plastic

                With the largest countertop footprint of all the dish racks we tested, Oxo's Good Grips Foldaway Dish Rack is a great option for bigger households. Either side has dedicated spots for cups and utensils, and the side panels can be folded in for easier storage. The utensil cups and the slots for dishes are removable, which makes cleaning day a little bit easier. Our tester loves how large and flat the dish rack is, allowing her to stack dishes much higher than expected. Plus, it's almost entirely made of plastic, yet still manages to look good while being practically unbreakable.

                oxo dish rack empty
                This Oxo dish rack is perfect for larger households and families because of its large surface area and sturdy base.
                Grace Cooper
                oxo dish rack folded up
                The dish rack’s side panels fold in, plus you can remove the utensil and plate holders for easy cleaning.
                Grace Cooper

                Although the name of the dish rack touts its foldable aspect, our tester says it's nothing to write home about as you're basically only losing 3 inches by folding in the sides. And the large surface area makes it so water is likely to flow away from your dishes, but it has a hard time making it through the drain spout into the sink and tends to pool, according to our tester.

                KitchenAid Compact Stainless Steel Dish Rack

                Best Stainless Steel Dish Rack

                KitchenAid Compact Stainless Steel Dish Rack

                $45.00 (25% off)

                • Dish rack is raised to avoid pooling
                • Removable utensil caddy and water tray makes it easy to clean
                • Stainless steel elevates the design and won't rust

                • Water tray may spill
                • Size: 13.23 by 15.04 by 5.43 inches
                • Material: Stainless steel

                  This simple, stainless steel dish rack from KitchenAid seems to have it all and will remain rust-free and shiny for its lifetime. With a few convenient features that set it apart from the rest, this dish rack is a solid option for anyone who has a little extra budget for a dish rack that will last. The rack itself is elevated above the drain board, ensuring that none of your dishes will be sitting in static water. Reviewers did complain, however, that it's not unheard of for the water to miss the board and cause a little spillage around the rack. Its utensil caddy boasts three compartments and is removable, making cleaning day a breeze.

                  Five Two Over-the-Sink Drying Rack

                  Best Over-the-Sink Dish Rack

                  Five Two Over-the-Sink Dish Drying Rack

                  $29.99 (33% off)

                  • Smart and beautiful design with built-in utensil holder
                  • Rolls up into almost nothing
                  • Doubles as a colander and trivet

                  • Can't hold that much
                  • May not fit all sinks
                  • Size: 20.5 by 12.25 inches (only 3 inches wide when rolled up)
                  • Material: Stainless steel and silicone

                    For those with sink space to spare, an over-the-sink dish rack can help save you room on the counter. Food52's in-house brand, Five Two, made its version of the disk rack multifunctional: it can work as a colander to wash produce, and it's heat-safe up to 550°F, so it operates as a trivet. There's a built-in utensil holder, and you can utilize the stretchy silicone compartment to hold items while saving space for more dishes that need drying. Plus, it's available in three colors and is quite aesthetically designed.

                    over sink dish rack folded up
                    When completely folded up, the Five Two dish rack is just 3 inches wide.
                    Grace Cooper
                    over sink dish rack with dishes
                    The rack has a weight capacity of 50 pounds, perfect for drying even heavy pots and pans.
                    Grace Cooper

                    Our tester loves that she can make the most of her double sink with the dish rack, so she's washing on one side and drying on the other. She leaves it covering her sink, and when she needs the extra space it easily folds in on itself. The rack feels sturdy and surprisingly hefty (with a 50-pound weight limit), making it great for drying pots and pans. It's a great solution for someone working with very little counter space and not a ton of dishes — although our tester does warn to pay attention to the dimensions as the rack is almost too large for her sink.

                    Farberware Classic 3-Piece Dish Rack

                    Best Simple Dish Rack

                    Farberware Classic 3-Piece Dish Rack


                    • Affordable at less than $50
                    • Ample space for larger cookware
                    • Simple design

                    • Prone to rust
                    • Won't last forever
                    • Size: 14.96 by 20.28 by 6.5 inches
                    • Material: Plastic and metal wires

                      Despite its low price, the Farberware dish rack holds its own against dish racks twice its price. It lacks the bells and whistles of the Simplehuman dish rack, like the special coatings to keep it clean and durable, but it holds your dishes (a lot of them in fact), and it drains itself. This may be a little too big if you have a small kitchen, but if you can spare the counter space, this is an excellent pick. Plus, it comes in four color options, which is unusual for a dish rack.

                      Yamazaki Tower Dish Rack

                      Best Two-Tier Dish Rack

                      Yamazaki Tower Dish Rack


                      • Removable bottom layer for easy cleanup
                      • Clean design
                      • Includes moveable hooks to hang dry items

                      • Because it has two tiers, the top layer drips onto the first layer adding to dry time
                      • Almost $90, which is pricier than most dish racks
                      • Size: 8.66 by 16.14 by 12.99 inches
                      • Material: Alloy steel

                        For those with small counters, a two-tier dish rack could be the way to go (that is if you also have enough clearance between the counter and cabinet). Yamazaki makes one of our favorites with a removable bottom tray with drain spout, steel construction and adjustable hooks to hang awkwardly shaped items. It's a little too small to comfortably place a large pot, but the top layer can dry a pan and still have space for a couple more dishes. Plus, it sports a sleek look and makes the most out of a small space.

                        Joseph Joseph Stainless Steel Dish Rack in Grey

                        Best Expandable Dish Rack

                        Joseph Joseph Stainless Steel Dish Rack in Grey

                        Joseph Joseph
                        $42.89 (16% off)

                        • Good for small and large kitchens
                        • Attractive design
                        • Adjustable drain spout

                        • Low sides makes it hard to pile cookware and dishes
                        • Size: 12.6 by 14.33 by 6.34 inches
                        • Material: Stainless steel and plastic

                          Whether you have a lot of dishes that need drying or just a couple of things, the Joseph Joseph dish rack has you covered. At first glance, it's a fairly small square dish rack with prongs to keep your dishes in place and separated for airflow. When you need more room, slide open the dish rack for almost double the space. It's a great option for those who don't have a lot of counter space to give up daily but will help out a lot on cleaning days. And the water will drain directly into your sink, so you don't have to worry about spillage or another thing to clean.

                          Yamazaki Tower Collapsible Bottle Dryer

                          Best Dish Rack for Water Bottles

                          Yamazaki Tower Collapsible Bottle Dryer

                          $20.28 (17% off)

                          • Simple yet functional
                          • Compact footprint

                          • Only dries bottles
                          • Size: 3.7 by 4.7 by 10.4 inches
                          • Material: Alloy steel

                            If you're a big fan of reusable water bottles but dread cleaning them, then this bottle drying rack might be worth the small splurge. It holds four water bottles, takes up very little counter space and has a very unobtrusive minimalist design. The drying rack is also sturdy enough for hefty bottles and helping out with other household tasks, like holding open a compost bag. Plus, when you don't need it, you can fold it up and store it without taking up hardly any space. It's definitely a luxury and not a necessity, but we'll call it a win if we never have to hear our stainless steel water bottle clank as it hits the countertop again.

                                Grace Cooper is a Commerce Writer at Gear Patrol, covering deals on everything from home to hiking.
                                Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Associate Staff Writer.